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August 15, 2022 11:02 pm

NGT Orders Halt On Mining In Shali Ganga Stream In Budgam

File Photo Of Mining In Shali Ganga Stream

Srinagar- The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has restrained a Gurugram-based construction company from undertaking mining in Shali Ganga stream of district Budgam.

According to an order, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer, the NGT has ordered NKC Projects Pvt Ltd to restrain carrying out any mining activities pursuant to the impugned Environmental clearance (ECs)

It may be noted that the NKC Project Pvt. Ltd, holds the contract for the Srinagar Semi Ring Road and uses the material from the Shali Ganga stream for constructing the road.

The Shali Ganga stream originates in the Tatakoti glacier in the Pir Panjal mountain range as a tributary of the Doodh Ganga, a tributary of the Jhelum river.

The appeal was filed by RTI activists, Dr. Raja Muzaffar Bhat before the NGT who maintained that the grant of ECA for minor mineral block No. 4 spreading 2.90 hectares on the bed of the Shali Ganga stream in Lalgam village in the district is in violation of Jammu and Kashmir Minor Mineral Concession, Transportation of Minerals and Prevention of Illegal Mining Rules, 2016 which prohibits mining within 25 meters from the embankment.

Bhat told Kashmir Observer that he challenged the NOC on environment clearance (EC), given to the NKC Project Pvt. Ltd from the Environment Impact Authority in the month of May.

Bhat said the NOC was given to undertaking mining in block 4 of Shali Ganga stream.

“In their response to NGT, they (NKC Project Pvt. Ltd) mislead the NGT saying that they don’t undertaking mining during the night time but I spotted a JCB machine extracting sand and gravel from the bed of the Shali Ganga stream in July,” he added.

He further said that the company didn’t follow Environment clearance (EC) guidelines including use of JCB’s, mining during night and 50 percent discount to locals.

NGT chairperson Sudhir Agarwal, while considering an appeal in the matter, held that environmental clearance (EC) was granted without any replenishment study and therefore, in violation of Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016 and Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining, 2020.

“Hence ex facie EC granted to R-4 (NKC Projects) which has been challenged in Appeal are illegal,” the green court averred.

The tribunal also noted that the non-preparation of replenishment report is not disputed by the firm and was in the view that no further mining activities pursuant to the impugned EC should be permitted.

“…since it has been prima facie shown that no replenishment study was conducted, till disposal of the Appeal, we restrain R-4 (NKC Project) from carrying out any mining activities pursuant to the impugned ECs.” the order from NGT reads.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed